Mark Walsh proved the hero on Student Day in Sligo, completing a magnificent 33/1 treble on Pretty Woman, Badgerfort and Shantou Flyer.
And his victory on the Colin Bowe-trained Shantou Flyer in the four-runner Foley’s Bar & Off Licence Chase was the undoubted highlight, as the 9/10 favourite, who jumped deliberately at times had to be kept up to his work on before digging deep for Walsh on the run-in to beat Shadow Catcher (Bryan Cooper) by a half-length.
Bowe said: “He’s a nice novice over a trip. Today’s was a bit sharp for him, but the stiff track played into his hands. Mark made plenty of use of him and he just grinds away.”
Walsh had kicked off when Perfect Woman, trained by Mick Winters, followed-up her recent maiden hurdle success in Clonmel by landing the opening mares beginners chase. The seven-year-old had edged ahead of front-running Jesmond Lodge when that rival crashed at the final fence, leaving Walsh’s mount to beat Queens Wild by two and a half lengths.
“She’s a perfect ride for any jockey” stated Winters. “She’s always balanced and meets her fences on a stride.”
Middle leg of Walsh’s treble was the JP McManus-owned Badgerfort, having his second run for Niall ‘Boots’ Madden in the Frank O’Beirne Memorial Beginners Chase.
Madden explained: “That was only his second run for us and he was unlucky to unseat in Ballinrobe.”
The featured Martin Reilly Motors Hyundai Handicap Chase went to Ballyfinboy, owned, trained and bred by Jimmy Finn and ridden to victory by Kevin Sexton.
Finn said: “He idles in front, so the good pace helped him. I think there’s a race for him in Cork on October 18 — and he could go back to Galway after that — he likes it there.”
Whiskey Galore, trained locally by Niall Moran for veteran owner Edric Browne, took full advantage of bottom-weight in the IT Sligo Student Race Day At Sligo Races Novice Handicap Chase, getting his head in front for the first time in his career (he was awarded a handicap hurdle here in August).
Ridden by Paddy Mangan, the nine-year-old proved four lengths superior to top-weight Dandridge.
Winning trainer Moran quipped: “He’s a bit of a thief and has more problems than the Greek economy! But it’s great that he won on our local track.”
Donagh Meyler continued his fine form when partnering Pencilhimin, trained by Noman Cassidy, to a convincing win in the Why Not Sponsor A Race In 2016 Handicap Chase, the rider’s third success in six days.
The St Angela’s College Beginners Chase produced a dramatic finish as 2/1 favourite He Is Top Class, ridden by Paul Townend, was pipped by rallying, longtime leader Westerner Point, who triumphed by a short-head after the runner-up forged clear early on the run-in and looked an assured winner.
Mark Walsh, Mattie Bowes, Barry Cash, Alan Crowe, Roger Loughran, Philip Enright and Robbie Colgan were each suspended for two days while Brian O’Connell, David Mullins and Mark Bolger each received three-day bans.
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